Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Invites 276 Artists - Including 22 Latinos - to Join Membership

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced on June 26 an impressive list of 276 new members, which includes 22 Latinos from actors Miriam Colon, Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Peña, and Danny Trejo (NALIP 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient) to filmmakers such as documentary director Patricio Guzman. The total number of new members is an increase of 100 new over last year. The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), the National Latino Media Council, and the National Foundation for Hispanic Arts all had conversations with the Academy that were sparked by Academy's omission of Lupe Ontiveros from their 2013 "In Memoriam" reel. 

Lupe Ontiveros helped us open the door to an important dialogue with the Academy. It led to productive conversations about the Academy's need to bring in new voices to their membership: an issue that senior leaders at AMPAS was fully aware of, but the conversations about Lupe's omission highlighted the urgency to identify artists from the Latino community and other communities of color. NALIP is proud to be part of this ongoing dialogue. Acting Executive Director Beni Matías commented that "it was important to speak with the Academy not once but several times. Their door and phone lines were open to us. The Academy has funded our Latino Producers Academy for several years so they understood why we were passionate about bringing in Latino talent to their fold." Others in the field also added their voices at this historic time: we thank Academy members Edward James Olmos and Andy Garcia for their contributions.

The AMPAS Board of Directors under Hawk Koch's leadership with CEO Dawn Hudson, Vic Bulluck, Managing Director of Outreach and Strategic Initiatives, and other senior staff had a strong vision in working with various partners not just in the Latino community but across the board – including other communities of color, women and Academy branches – to bring in this talented pool of new members. This year's new members include individuals such as documentary editor Vivien Hillgrove (NALIP 2013 Latino Producers Academy editor mentor) who has collaborated with Lourdes Portillo (Señorita Extraviada) for some three decades, Peter Kinoy and Pamela Yates who have partnered with Paco de Onis (Granito: How to Nail a Dictator) for many years, and William Greaves  (Symbiopsychotaxiplasm) who paved the way for many filmmakers.  

The list of new Academy members is extensive, please take time to review it and learn about these very creative individuals: they are part of our film history. Let us review the full list, not just the Latinos, to understand how many individuals have come before us. NALIP is extremely proud of all the Latinos invited to join the Academy, and we are also proud of all the allies who will also be joining. 

And we understand that the work is not over. Prior to this year Latinos comprised less than 2% of the AMPAS membership, despite making up 17% of the population of the United States. The next call for names will be in March of 2014, and we have a long list of talented Latinos to recommend.

The full list of 2013 invitees can be found on the AMPAS website.